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Politics

Former Judge Pando Faces New Charges

pando portrait.jpg
Miami-Dade County

Florida's Judicial Qualifications Commission has filed some new charges against former Miami-Dade County Judge Ana Pando.

Pando, who resigned from the bench after losing her primary campaign in August, has been under investigation for using her prestige and judicial stationery to revive a dissolved corporation headed by a friend of hers.

Now, according to the new JQC charges, she's accused of accepting and not disclosing a financial gift and campaign contributions from the friend, identified in official papers as Mark Cereceda. His company is listed in the document as Florida Wellness & Rehabilitation Center, Inc..

Pando is also charged with failing to disclose two $10,000 loans she repaid in 2006. The lenders were identified as Omar Armenteros and Rafael Rius.

During her reelection campaign, the JQC continues, Pando loaded her website with purported "endorsements" from local political and legal community figures who now say they never endorsed her.

And there is more to the accusations of financial and ethical wrongdoing. From the JQC charging document: 

From at least June 2010 and continuing during the pendency of these proceedings, you have routinely written worthless checks off of two separate checking accounts maintained by you. Your conduct in writing bad checks is fundamentally dishonest, unethical, and brings disrepute on the judiciary and the legal profession as a whole.

Pando, who was licensed in 1981 after graduating from the University of Miami law school, worked previously as an assistant Miami-Dade County public defender and assistant state attorney. She became a judge in 2001.

Four years later, the Florida Supreme Court reprimanded Pando for  accepting improper campaign contributions.